May 30, 2019 / 25 Iyar, 5779 • Parshat Bechukotai
Issue 563
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

If a man consecrates a part of his inherited field to G-d and someone then wishes to redeem it, the value he must pay will not reflect its market value but will be determined solely according to its capacity for sowing: An area that can be sown with a chomer [248 liter, or 7 bushel] of barley seed will be valued at 50 shekels [800 g or 1.76 lb] of silver.

Vayikra 27:16

If a man consecrates: Why should the Torah allow us to give to the Temple or its priests possessions that G-d granted us? isn't this being ungrateful to G-d, or perhaps shirking the responsibility that He has placed upon us by putting these resources at our disposal? The answer is that all our possessions really belong to G-d. He has just entrusted them to our care during our lifetimes in order that we refine them, and in order that by refining them, we refine ourselves and the world. It follows that we have no inherent "rights" to what we possess; they are not ours to abuse or waste at our discretion.

If this is true of our external possessions, it is true all the more so of our talents and bodies. We must take proper care of them and direct them towards positive ends; they are not ours to abuse or misuse. And this is true all the more of our children, whom we value even more than ourselves. Our children belong to

G-d, who has entrusted them to our care in order for us to raise them to be good and holy. It is our nature as parents to spare no effort in pursuit of what is best for our children. Our highest priority, then, should be to provide them with a Jewish education, based on the Torah's eternal values. This is the best way to ensure their truest, most lasting happiness.

--From Kehot's Chumash Vayikra